News | 23/03/2011
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On Friday, March 18, at a teacher’s protest in the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa, the 59-year-old teacher Ilse Ivana Velasquez was killed by the police and thugs of the right wing paramilitary group “Cobra” . The security forces did not hesitate to fire straight against the protestors with tear gas, grenades and other chemical gases which resulted to one death. After the shooting, the body of the teacher was dragged to the ground and ran over by a police tracked vehicle.
Ilse Ivana Velasquez was the sister of the long time missing, Manfred Angel Velasquez Rodriguez whose mutilated body was found long after the disappearance during the 80′s. At that time, the head of the state terror in Honduras was the U.S. ambassador John Negroponte and the leader of the armed forces Gustavo Alvarez Martinez. This murder was the first case in which the State of Honduras was condemned by the Inter-American Organization for Human Rights. The Commission of Relatives of Prisoners and Missing people states that this was a politically motivated murder and condemned the undemocratic tactics of the Honduran regime.
The 18th of March was the third day of a series of protests, where more than 60,000 teachers participated, within a period of general strike. 5,000 of them have not been paid for the past 18 months. The dictatorial regime of Roberto Micheletti (2009-2010) is responsible for laundering more than $ 250 million from welfare and pension funds of teachers, resulting to a total economic collapse.
The Parliament will pass a law that allows privatization in education. This will destroy the secular character of Honduran education while the role and influence of evangelical and Catholic priests in schools will be increased. In many municipalities across the country, teachers with parents of students have proceeded to occupy governmental buildings.
The Congress – approximately the 71% of its members are individuals that have been involved in military dictatorship coup – works hand in hand with the organization “Civil Society” and many so called “Non-Governmental Organisations”, trying to impose measures that favour the privatization of Honduran education. All these organizations are financed by the Agency for International Development U.S. (USAID). The right-wing “National Party” enjoys huge political control in many of these organizations. The teachers union which has a long history in protesting and confronting police brutality, blames the government for wrecking the education system.
In the demonstration of March 17th, a baby risked its life after inhaling large amounts of chemicals dropped by the police against demonstrators. Before this rally the climate was very rebellious. The Counter-information networks broadcasted a statement of a teacher who participated in the strike-term: “On Monday we’ll go to the capital armed and will disarm the police and the military. Enough is Enough. “
On Saturday 19 March, a day after the assassination, a senior of the regime tried to replace the striking teachers with scabs that are alleged with the ruling party. The government has ordered that the scabs will be paid by the wages of strikers. As if this were not enough, the government announced that the doctor who will take up the autopsy on the corpse of the murdered teacher, is to be the brother of the Minister of Public Security. This decision met strong reactions by the family of the dead while the teachers union claimed that this was an attempt of impunity as the government tries to cover up this case.
Photos from: voselsoberano.com
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